At the time, Abele's apologists were trying to say Abele had no choice but to become the MPS Privatization Czar, because it was either him or Scott Walker. As I pointed out, that excuse was utter bullshit. Abele has had a lot of friendly dealings with his fellow conservatives in the state legislature. So much so that Abele has given campaign donations to and held fundraisers for Republicans, including Kooyenga.
I somehow doubt that the Republicans had to do a lot of arm twisting to get Abele to go along on the hostile takeover of our schools and the auctioning off of our children's futures. After all, Abele and his good friend and mentor, Sheldon Lubar, have been quite frank and open that MPS was their next target after hamstringing The Milwaukee County Board.
Cog Dis has since learned from reliable sources in Madison and Milwaukee that Abele and the Republicans made a deal only the Devil could love - Abele would become the MPS Privatization Czar and the Republicans would make sure that Abele would get his new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks. In other words, Abele traded our children's futures so that his already filthy rich friends can become even richer and so he can have even better courtside seats. What a guy!
Sure enough, suddenly there is a deal for a new arena that really puts the screws to Milwaukeeans, both financially and democratically ((emphasis mine):
The state would be responsible for bonds worth more than $55 million. The state would commit $4 million a year over 20 years, or $80 million total, to cover its shares of principal and interest costs.
The Wisconsin Center District would issue $93 million in zero-coupon bonds that could be paid off years from now.
The city would spend $35 million on a new 1,240-vehicle parking structure and provide $12 million in tax incremental financing.
In the most unusual feature of the deal, Milwaukee County would "certify" tens of millions of dollars in uncollected county debt. The county, in effect, would then count on the state to recover at least $4 million of that debt a year for 20 years, a total of another $80 million that would then be funneled to the arena project.
One source said that plan could put the state at risk of having to put more toward the project. But another source said if there's a shortfall the sum could be deducted from aid the state provides the county.Talk about your lose-lose-lose propositions!
A source said the Milwaukee County Board would not have a vote on the deal, including the financing piece affecting county taxpayers.
"There may be other County Board reforms that will be part of this package," said one official close to the negotiations.
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele — who has generally been quiet about the county's possible role in the deal — has been a key player in putting together the proposal that would centralize control of the key assets. He has been unavailable for comment.
In one fell swoop - and with absolutely no say in the matter - Milwaukeeans will have public assets (the schools) and their children's lives ripped from them and given to education profiteers of Abele's choosing. On top of that, Milwaukeeans get to pay over a quarter of a billion dollars to make millionaires (like Abele) and billionaires even richer.
And not only are Milwaukeeans losing control of their schools, but now there voices in county government will be hushed even further. (Don't be surprised if one of those changes is that Abele can arbitrarily change civil service rules because running a clean government and treating workers fairly and with respect is just more than he can do.)
It was going to take years if not decades to repair the damage Scott Walker has done to Milwaukee. With the damage caused by Abele and his Republican friends, it will take generations, if it can be fixed at all.
ADDENDUM: Since I first posted this, I have learned that the "uncollected debt" are unpaid property taxes and unpaid criminal fines. In other words, Abele is promising to kick Grandma from her house to help pay for the arena. And when that fails to cover the tab, Walker will cut shared revenue even further. Then Abele will either have to raise property taxes and/or cut services. How fiscally conservative of him!